A review of rates for businesses that are struggling with rising costs and decreasing footfall has been called for.
The Dail debated an urgent motion calling for a review of rates, with Jobs and Enterprise Spokesperson, Willie O’Dea, stating that small employers in particular are suffering in the current economy.
“Businesses are struggling with rising costs and are now in fear of being hit with more stealth charges from the government in the budget,” said Deputy O’Dea.“There are thousands of employers across Limerick and the Mid West just keeping their heads above water.
“We need to do more at a national level to support them and for many businesses, one of the main costs are the rates charged by their local authority”.
He added that the valuation lists used for most commercial properties are outdated as a result of the major changes experienced in property values in recent years, meaning businesses are paying inflated rates.
“Other avenues of valuation could include self-assessment and a clause that would recognise a business’ ability to pay.
“Fine Gael and Labour have been in government since March but the reality is that both parties have controlled the majority of local authorities around the country since long before that.
“The rates charged at this level are no longer sustainable and reform must be brought about quickly to ensure businesses are in a stronger position next year”.
He said that proposals to shift costs from central government directly to employers, as well as a 2% VAT increase coming in the budget, will “put many of them out of business altogether.
“The government must refocus its attention toward job creation instead of hurting the very people in a position to grow the local and national economy”.
In June, national organisation Employers for Affordable Rates (EAR), met in Limerick to discuss measures to combat the level of rates being paid by businesses.